DLA PHILLIPS Fox had a big win recently with the Western Australian Government announcing that the Oakajee Port and Rail consortium (OPR) had been chosen to build a $1.5 billion deep-water port at Oakajee in Western Australia.
DLA Phillips Fox was the legal adviser to OPR (a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Murchison Metals) on the bid, which was selected over Yilarn Infrastructure as the preferred developer. The DLA Phillips Fox team, led by partner Robert Edel, spans the firm’s Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney offices.
The project has been the subject of considerable controversy over the growing level of Chinese control in the WA resources sector. According to The West Australian newspaper, the government’s choice of the Japanese/Australian-backed OPR, over the Chinese-backed Yilgarn will be seen as appeasing this concern worry.
However, in a joint statement the Western Australian Premier, Alan Carpenter, and the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan, said that the decision was made purely on the basis of merit. “Technical assessment of the two proposals resulted in a very definitive recommendation in favour of Oakajee Port and Rail,” Carpenter said.